Vusa Rugby Academy in Langa is sharpening skills of future Springboks
Vusa, meaning “awaken”, is an initiative that began as a part-time rugby programme for youngsters in Langa, however, as the programme developed, greater needs were identified.
Vusa co-ordinator Brendan Fogarty said their programmes were striving to create a “hub of excellence” in the community by offering a structured, after-school academic programme that included rugby as the sport.
Established in 2001 with the aim of creating opportunities and to make a difference while fostering a love of rugby, it has grown to cater for more than 300 learners from five primary schools and four crèches in Langa.
“The root cause of the challenges that some of our youth face, such as poor mental and physical health, addiction, homelessness, crime and family breakdown are often attributed to deficiencies in early childhood. The programme’s primary goal is to provide a hub of excellence in Langa to ensure that these challenges are addressed early on by creating opportunities and as a safe space for these children to learn, play and grow, Fogarty said.
The academy has a programme that starts at crèche level, offering simple movement classes and various kids games that include vocabulary and goes to Grade7 and are currently working on extending their academic programme to high school.
The rugby programme runs from ages 9 to 19 age groups before joining the senior level Busy Bee RFC.
“Rugby, when coached correctly is a powerful tool for teaching life skills and teamwork, self discipline, hard work, determination, mastery of a skill set which in turn boost self esteem. Overall sport creates opportunities, provides a safe place, it keeps kids off the streets,” Forgaty said.
“Vusa is about awakening talent and creating opportunities for children to grow up in a safe and stimulating environment.
Bogart said the academic programme was bearing fruit with the crèche programme, whilst still in its infancy, also gaining traction.
“We have noticed an improvement in English vocabulary and teachers are reporting an improvement in Maths and general conduct at school. This development can be attributed to the boys being involved in an environment that demands self-discipline, the realization that team is important and above all the exposure to good male role models,” he said.
“He said the visible excitement from the children when the coaches arrive each day was evidence that they were making a difference,” he added.
“I believe the work we are doing is making a positive impact on the community and ‘awakening’ our members to the opportunities that exist in our beautiful country,” he said.@Mtuzeli